My older son is a very energetic and active preschooler. Curious by nature, he keeps coming up with new future professions. Last year it was a superhero, then just two months ago he was treating his stuffed animals, determined to become a doctor when he grows up. This week he’s set his mind to becoming an elevator mechanic. I chuckled to myself, thinking what his future would be if he really became a mechanic. And then it hits me. The future job of his dreams might not even exist when he grows up.
It’s a competitive and changing world out there. One recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that around one-third of the American workforce will need to switch occupations by 2030. And on the other hand futurist, Cathy Davidson predicted that 65% of elementary school students will end up in jobs that don’t exist yet.
In order to calm down, and to find some answers about our unpredicted future, I try to do research. And this is what I found out.
Future jobs within Industry 4.0
We are caught up in the middle of the 4th Industrial revolution (also known as Industry 4.0). The 1st Industrial Revolution was defined by water and steam power which were used to mechanize production. The 2nd one used electric power in order to realise mass production. Then the 3rd revolution introduced electronics and information technology to automate production. At last, the 4th Industrial Revolution is about (hyper) digitalization. It refers to how new technologies, such as Siri, self-driving cars and the internet of things are merging with humans’ physical lives.
The technologies that define Industry 4.0 are: Artificial intelligence (AI); Blockchain as a secure, decentralised, and transparent way of recording and sharing data; Virtual reality (VR); Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes; to develop new technologies and products for a range of uses and so many more.
New technologies and innovations are presented day by day. Evaluating the current situation leads me to conclude the following:
- Robots and AI are replacing some of the jobs on the “human” labour market.
- There are predictions that humans will be fully excluded from some jobs, such as factory production.
- Our kids are already under the influence of digital nannies.
- Some researches show that staying at home and working instead of going to work will become a new trend.
- According to an analysis done by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, in the last 12 years, there was a 159% increase in remote work.
- There are a lot of in-demand jobs which didn’t exist 5 years ago.
According to The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report for 2018, technological change and shifts in job roles and occupational structures are transforming the demand for skills at a faster pace than ever before. Technology-related and non-cognitive soft skills are becoming increasingly more important. It looks like hard skills are easier to learn compared to soft skills.
In-demand skills for Future Job
The latest research on this topic, The Class of 2030, was led by Microsoft and McKinsey. This research was done with the use of survey analysis of 2000 students and 2000 teachers across Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States; an in-depth review of 150 pieces of existing research; and interviews with 70 thought leaders, including educators, researchers, policymakers, and technologists.
The results showed that the fastest-growing occupations will require:
- higher-level cognitive skills in areas such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity,
- and 30 to 40% of jobs will require explicit social-emotional skills.
So what are the most important skills and that the new educational system should include?
Coding is the way we communicate with computers. One more reason kids should learn how to code is the fact that 68% of all new STEM jobs are in computing. Yet only 11% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science, even though they can earn 40% more than the college average. While learning how to code, kids can use several different ways to do that. It means that they can develop creativity, which is a very demanding skill for future jobs. Coding allows kids to solve complex problems. How? By breaking these problems into smaller parts and arrange them in a way that computers can understand.
When we say soft skills, we refer to a set of abilities that determine how we interact with others. In nutshell, soft skills are personal attributes that enable us to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. Some of those skills kids will learn in school, but they can also be trained parents at home.
The most demanding soft skills for future jobs are:
- Communication is the number one skill. And it’s not only about knowing how to speak well, how to write or read. A child should learn how to be a confident speaker; how to find arguments while defending their opinion; how to make an impact. Talk to your kid and ask them to explain his stance. Through conversation teach them how to argument their decisions, actively listen and make compromises.
- Teamwork is also one of the major soft skills for your kid. It’s simply because your kids will most definitely work in a team one day. Teamwork is easily trained at school and at home. You can begin by cooking with your kids, which is a great way of learning how to work in a team.
- Leadership is the ability to manage multiple people and situations. Leaders are the ones who other people look up to and trust. This skill can be trained at home with a simple blindfolded game. Make all the kids wear blindfolds, except the one who will lead them across the room only with instructions.
- Problem Solving and Critical Thinking as a way of observing and solving problems. Critical thinking is crucial here. Learning how to analyse problems from a different angle is very important. And if you are about to develop this skill at your home, try solving a puzzle together. Try to act more as an observer. Let them do the work.
- Strong Work Ethic is not only important for their future job. This skill will help them achieve great results at school too. It involves time management, attention to detail, dependability, and going the extra mile. And showing your kid how to be punctual is a great way to start. When you plan to go outside, give your kid a watch and ask him to be ready in a specific amount of time.
Few words before you go preparing your kids for the future job
While it is impossible to predict the next breakthrough innovation, it is possible to prepare our children for change and to help them gain skills that will provide value in tomorrow’s labour market. Strong foundations in STEM subjects will provide a solid foundation in tomorrow’s workplace.
And most importantly, we must teach our children to be hungry for knowledge and never frightened by change – but rather find change exciting and fulfilling. This is the key to successful preparation for their future successful job!
This article is part of our series on Generation Alpha
We seek to provide answers to your most pressing questions about keeping your kids safe online, introducing them to the digital world, and helping them be their authentic selves online.
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